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The Latest Literary Trend? ‘Hard Readers’

Reality can be stranger than fiction.

We all know about early (sometimes called easy) readers, right? Books with simple text and story lines for emerging readers. Well, soon publishers will begin debuting what some are calling “hard readers” – more complex tales featuring children’s literature icons, for an exclusively grown-up audience.

Nate the Great will become the hard-boiled detective noir The Nate Files. Madeline will become The Old House in Paris, about Madeline’s quest to turn the “old house in Paris covered with vines” into an Instagram tourism destination.

via ChildLitZoom

Wonder what Matilda is like as an adult? Soon, you’ll be able to, thanks to “Hard Readers” – books for grown-ups based on famous children’s book characters. Publishers are seeking to capitalize on reader recognition, putting well-known children’s literature characters in stories for adults.

Characters such as Paddington, Ferdinand, Madeline, and more have been announced as taking part in the new books, to be written by some of the grown-up literary worlds finest.

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt from The Old House in Paris.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Happy April Fools Day to you, too.
    I nearly fell off the treadmill at first, but even though this is very convincing… yep- no.

  2. Fran Manushkin says:

    Harriet M. Welsch, now a popular novelist, is writing a roman a clef about her Upper East Side neighborhood. Her novel, “The Eighty-Second Street Mysteries,” has tasty tidbits about Harper Lee’s nightly wanderings: why is she slipping of out her ground floor apartment each night and turning left to York Avenue? Is she going to Ottomanelli’s grocery store to buy expensive beefsteak tomatoes for tomato sandwiches, as every respectable person should? Or is she splurging on high-priced beefsteak to feed homeless cats? And why did Harper Lee choose to live directly across the street from Ezra Jack Keats who resides on the 22nd floor of 444 East 82nd Street? Was she hoping to corner him on his daily walks to find out the secrets of writing a picture book, perhaps one about Scout and her new friend Boo Radley? Did Harper Lee know that Ezra Jack Keats could see her building from his window and that it’s in the pictures of his book “Dreams?” MIss Welsch has already sold dramatic rights to the “Eighty-Second Street Mysteries” to Aaron Sorkin, who will write the libretto, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. “The Ballad of Boo Radley” promises to be as thrilling as “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.”

  3. This was very funny, as was Fran Manushkin’s comment!
    On a more serious note, (sorry), since Marjorie Weinman Sharmat has just died, I would like to point out that Nate the Great actually is a “hardboiled detective noir,” for kids. He’s clearly an affectionate tribute to that genre.

  4. It’s dangerous going back and reading past posts in April — that it was written on April Fools’ Day was going right by me.